Globalization and the corporate geography of cities in the less-developed world

Richard Grant, Jan Nijman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Research on the globalization experience of cities in the less-developed world is sparse. There is a notable gap in the existing literature between theory on global cities and empirical studies of cities in the less-developed world. What is needed is a return to the kinds of intensive fieldwork and primary data collection that were common in "Third World" cities in the 1960s and 1970s - but informed by theory on the changing global political economy. To this end, we present research findings from parallel studies of Accra and Mumbai. These cities were chosen because of their similar political-economic histories and their similar geographic functions as gateways cities in the global economy. A historical theoretical perspective based on the cities' roles in global political economy is employed to detail important phases in urban evolution in the less-developed world. We concentrate on the changing corporate presence in the two cities as one important manifestation of globalization. Our research focuses on identifying the most salient changes and continuity in the corporate geographies of Accra and Mumbai over time. Our empirical analysis is based on extensive field-work conducted locally in both cities. The research findings indicate the emergence of multiple central business districts (CBDs) that are differentially integrated in the wider economy, at local, national, and global scales. We argue that the experiences of Accra and Mumbai are relevant to other cities with a similar history and with a high current exposure to the global economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-340
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Accra
  • Economic geography
  • Globalization
  • Liberalization
  • Mumbai

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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